Common Sense May Not Be So Common


Before reading this introduction of “The Problem of Common Sense” I honestly was always an advocate for common sense. However, after reading Kumashira I realize that I was a consumer sucked into the idea of common sense being a positive things. Now I still believe in some aspects that it is healthy to use common sense, such as when it comes to the difference between right and wrong, but in saying that Common sense is so counterproductive I am beginning to realize! I am so taken aback by how this one section of a book completely changed my views on common sense. It mainly outlines how common sense is like stationary thinking. For example, as a teacher we teach our students to not use racism (common sense), but when you think about it, although it seems like once you say it, it’s common sense, it’s not. It takes practise and developing ideas on how to remove racism from the situation and classroom. We use common sense as a method to verbally state not to do something, but when does just saying something actually take action…. Rarely. It takes learning about racism and cooperatively coming up with ways to counteract it in order for an change to be taking place. Therefore, common sense is summed up as old fashioned thinking that needs to be updated because the world in constantly changing and so should our ideas of what common sense really is.

The oppression that takes place in and outside of school is often ignored, even though educators use their “common sense” in dictating students to not oppress. However, no action is taking place to do so. There for saying to use common sense is counterproductive as there is no action plan to back up this so called ‘” common sense”. Being commonsensical is so narrowed down to the tradtions of what we have learned is right and wrong that their is not room to develop new common sense ideas. Sticking to the same traditions put us in a stationary world of learning. Everything in this world continuously changes such as morals, education, views upon different social and political issues, however if we stick to the same thinking of what common sense is, there is no room for our development and ideas to grow. This would keep everything stationary. Which means there will be no hope for oppression to be diminished.

Relating back to the intro on teaching in Nepal in comparison in teaching in the United States and the differentiation between how education is viewed and delivered proves that common sense gives no room for development. As described in the reading, the United States have advanced in education much compared to Nepal. However if you closely read the differences, it is the common sense that differentiates. The United States, have upgraded in education and began to realize that common sense is not a way to teach by, however Nepal is stuck in that situation. And it is the lack of resources they have, as well as people’s attitudes towards their education system that keep them stuck in their own views of common sense and what teaching really is. Therefore common sense changes in each social context, which means different actions need to be taken in different environments in order to develop ideas to creat new common sense and allow it to continue to grow!

Overall, this sample reading was very educational and completely changed my views on common sense and how terribly counterproductive it is. it is this traditional way of thinking that everyone has experienced that does not allow us to grow morally and educationally. Instead of teaching common sense to students, we need to explore other ideas of what individuals believe needs to change and an action plan of how it will change, and of course it needs to be acted upon! Common sense is a static thinking that is a potential starting point for change, it will just take educators realizing that it needs to be avoided in order for our world to become a better place with less oppression, hopefully one day oppression free.

“The Problem of Common Sense” by Kumashiro: